Russia launched a fresh barrage of missiles toward Ukraine on Monday as it accused Kyiv of striking military airfields deep inside its territory.
Dozens of missiles were launched by Russian forces towards Ukraine on Monday, cutting off water and electricity supplies in some areas, and killing at least one person in the Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih, and at least two people in Zaporizhzhia, according to local authorities.
Debris from one missile also crossed the Ukrainian border, hitting a town in Moldova.
The Ukrainian Air Force said that more than 60 Russian missiles were intercepted. Yet some reached their targets and the shelling cut water and electricity access in Kryvyi Rih and in the southern city of Odesa, after recent shortages across the country due to Russian attacks targeting critical infrastructure.
The Russian Defense Ministry said that Ukraine used drones to attack two Russian military airfields on Monday morning, adding that its air defenses intercepted the attacks “in the Saratov and Ryazan regions,” according to a statement carried on the official Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
“On the morning of December 5, the (Kyiv) regime, in order to disable Russian long-range aircraft, attempted to strike with Soviet-made jet unmanned aerial vehicles [drones] at the Diaghilevo military airfields in the Ryazan region and Engels in the Saratov region,” it said in the statement.
“The air defense of the Russian Aerospace Forces intercepted these Ukrainian drones flying at low altitude,” it said, adding the the destroyed drones “slightly damaged” two aircraft.
Three people were killed and six injured after a fuel truck exploded at the Russian airfield near the city of Ryazan, Russian state media reported. The explosion occurred at an aircraft parking lot at the airfield, emergency services told state news agency TASS on Monday.
The aftermath of the explosion at the airfield appears to have been captured by Israeli satellite imagery company ImageSat International (ISI), which showed “burn marks and objects” near “a Tu-22M aircraft that was probably damaged,” it told CNN.
The second drone flew to the western Russian city of Engels, where an airbase with the same name is located.
CCTV footage geolocated by CNN appears to show an explosion lighting up the sky at around 6 a.m. local time on Monday morning in Engels, which is around 500 miles southeast of Moscow. The footage, which was shared on social media, was recorded approximately 3.7 miles away from where the Engels-2 airfield is located, a strategic bomber airbase.
Saratov region Governor Roman Busargin, reassured residents on Telegram that no civilian infrastructure was damaged but said “information about incidents at military facilities is being checked by law enforcement agencies.”
He acknowledged information about “about a loud bang and a burst in Engels in the early morning” was spreading on social networks and the media.
Pro-Russian bloggers have said that the incidents were likely an act of sabotage from Ukraine, which has not confirmed that it attacked either airfield.
The Ukrainian Air Force said on Telegram that 70 missiles were launched on Monday by Russia. While it said that a “massive attack on critical infrastructure” had been repelled, with the bulk of missiles intercepted, some caused considerable damage.
The port city of Odesa appearing to be among the worst affected regions. Water supply company Infoksvodokanal said that in Odesa, “all pumping station and reserve lines are without power – thus consumers don’t have water.”
“Part of the city is without electricity, some boiler houses and pumping stations are off,” said Oleksandr Vilkul, a military official in Kryvyi Rih.
In the capital, Kyiv, about 40% of people in the capital are without power supply after an energy facility was hit on Monday, according to military official Oleksii Kuleba.
With winter coming, war isn’t the only thing Ukrainians have to worry about
Power cuts were also reported in the western Ukrainian region of Prykarpattia, as a result of Moscow’s shelling campaign.
State energy company, Ukrenergo, had reduced electricity capacity in the Prykarpattia area by one third, Svitlana Onyshchuk, a regional official, said.
The head of a major energy distributor said the overall situation was difficult but under control. “Almost all regions of Ukraine are subject to emergency blackouts. Power engineers have started to repair the damage, the work will continue overnight. We will try to return to the scheduled outages as soon as possible to stop emergency outages,” Dmytro Sakharuk, CEO of DTEK, said on Telegram.
“The most complicated situation is in Kyiv region, Kyiv city, Odesa city and northern regions of the country. This is due to both the damage and the number of consumers,” he added.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked “air defense forces, our power engineers and our people” in a statement on Monday, adding that power engineers have already started to restore electricity.
He later added that repair work was continuing “in the central regions of Ukraine, Odesa, Zaporizhzhia and Kharkiv.”
“In order to stabilize the power grid, it was necessary to switch to emergency shutdowns in many regions,” he said.
There has been much speculation about the Russian stockpile of missiles – with the last such wave of missile strikes on Ukraine happening on November 23.
In the wake of Monday’s attacks on Ukraine, the country’s Defense Intelligence (DI) said Moscow still has enough missiles to inflict heavy damage on Ukrainian infrastructure – despite stocks potentially falling to “critical levels.”
The shelling during the day was “another terrorist attack on peaceful, civilian infrastructure, primarily energy infrastructure,” according to DI spokesperson Andrii Yusov.
“Regarding high-precision weapons in Russia, by many indicators the stockpiles of missiles have fallen to critical levels,” Yusov said on Ukrainian television on Monday.
Further south, and away from the front lines, a missile was identified in a town called Briceni in Moldova, about three kilometers (almost two miles) from the Ukrainian border.
It is not immediately clear from the images what type the rocket is. CNN is working on confirming the type of missile.
The Moldovan Interior Ministry added in their statement “the area where the rocket was discovered has been isolated by police patrol and border police. The specialized services of the interior ministry” are on the scene.
Residents in Moldova suffered sweeping blackouts after the Kremlin targeted critical infrastructure in November. At the time, Moldovan Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure Minister Andrei Spinu warned the risks of power cuts remain high in the face of Russia’s grueling invasion of Ukraine.